With the opening of the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris on October 1, 2017, Pierre Berge has once again reached another pinnacle of achievement...fashion and haute couture have now been firmly cemented into an art form. The ongoing debate of whether fashion is art has been ended. Carefully balancing form, function, and practicality into his creations, Yves Saint Laurent imbued them with an unprecedented artistic immersion, tipping the scale from fashion designer into fashion artist. By dedicating their headquarters and atelier, where for thirty years Saint Laurent focused tirelessly on the development of his artistic expression, a private viewing has been given to us to see how this master worked.
Here in his environs of opulence, decor, crystal chandeliers and gilded gold frames, notebooks filled with his sketches, and trays laden with his bijoux, les accessoires, les tissue, and trimmings is where his lifetime of dreams and struggles had been conceived and consumed.
All of the tools that had contributed heavily to his Haute Couture vision and that are perfectly crafted with his creative touch are on display. Awaiting us is an invitation into the studio where Saint Laurent conceived and designed some of the most memorable and awe-inspiring collections, not only of the 20th century, but of all time.
An expert draftsman, it's hard to realize Saint Laurent's love / hate relationship with his metier and sketching, but on display are his fantastic visions of The Gypsies, The Russians, and The Chinese, the Van Gogh-inspired sunflowers, the Matisse-inspired cut-outs, the Picasso-infused eveningwear.
There are many reasons why the Musée Yves Saint Laurent differentiates itself from other "fashion" museums. The most obvious is that this Musée Yves Saint Laurent is the first to consecrate an Haute Couture atelier into a museum, located in the heart of a major international city. We are permitted to focus solely on the originator of the Haute Couture label and the visionary of the YSL brand, Yves Saint Laurent. The second is that it is steeped in the culture and bosom of Haute Couture. Here we get to experience, explore, and study Saint Laurent's creative underpinnings of Haute Couture, revolutionary Pret-a-Porter and his relationship with fashion, his mentor and his life long partner, Pierre Berge.
Paying homage to a designer's passion and allowing us to experience their artistic metier in their creative playground is a privilege. Perhaps this is popping the cork off of the bottle and allowing other couturiers and designers to be represented in this same jubilant fashion. Yes, Vive le Champagne!
Musée Yves Saint Laurent's inaugural display runs through 09 September 2018. Its address is 5 avenue Marceau, 75116 Paris, France.
media credits: Jamie Pesavento / special thanks to Simon Freschard et Foundation Pierre Berge